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PRODUCTIVITY

6 Ways to Ruin Your Day
 

The road between just a bad day and an all-out miserable day is short--especially if you make any of these things habits.

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Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Will your day be productive and positive or dreary and depressing? It's up to you. Do these six things and you're in for trouble.

Judge people.

Think of the last time a colleague or customer annoyed you. Could there be some unknown reason for the person's behavior?

Maybe someone is rude, angry, seemingly inept, or in some way getting under your skin, but there might be a good excuse. Perhaps the person's dog just died, or she has a terrible headache or he just received a phone call with bad news. Whatever it is, you likely don't know the full story. Extend some grace.

Stress out about how much work you have left.

Srikumar Rao tells the story of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL who learned to relentlessly concentrate only on taking the next step.

During his instruction, which involved swimming and running for miles, carrying heavy burdens under live fire as well as air deprivation while scuba diving, he noticed that candidates who focused on how many days of excruciating training they had left inevitably dropped out. As one of his instructors put it, "The body can take damn near anything. It's the mind that needs training."

Later when Luttrell was badly wounded in Afghanistan he didn't succumb to fear after seeing three of his comrades killed and suffering multiple fractures, gunshot wounds, and a broken back. It was his one-step-at-a time mentality that helped him travel miles to find safety.

While your work probably isn't life or death, there's a lot to be learned from his story. Focusing on the enormity or difficulty of a problem can cause you to stall.

Compare yourself with others.

One tool many people use to do this, surprisingly, is Facebook. Study after study has shown that people who log onto the social networking site are less happy. The reason? People tend to compare their lives with photos of their friends' seemingly amazing vacations, perfect children, and adoring spouses.

Spend a lot of time in meetings.

Alexa Von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest and Inc. columnist schedules meetings in 15-minute blocks.

"Most people think in terms of 30-minute chunks, but I've found that when I free up more time, I waste it. Of course, some tasks do require more time so if a meeting needs to take 30 minutes, it will take 30 minutes. But otherwise, I try not to schedule meetings to last that long," she writes.

Be a perfectionist.

Perfectionism is one root of anxiety. It's also a protective mechanism usually established in childhood to keep others from criticizing us, points out Shelley Prevost, who identifies four beliefs that will eventually lead to a nervous breakdown in a recent Inc. post.

If you're perfect, no one can judge you or notice how flawed you are.

The thing is, you are flawed--everyone is. By holding yourself accountable to impossible standards you're only setting yourself up for misery.

Feel sorry for yourself.

People who understand history know the vast majority of the human beings who have lived and died on this planet have not had it easy. War, pestilence, and famine have all been common themes running throughout the timeline of this planet. What would your life be like without modern conveniences such as running and hot water, a washing machine, and refrigerator?

Every day make a list of things for which you're thankful. If you can walk, talk, think, breathe and have the freedom to set your own sail you should acknowledge it.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Sep 18, 2013

CHRISTINA DESMARAIS is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech startup community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com.
@salubriousdish




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